What disability services do we need?

KATHY Harrip needed help. And she had to do the unthinkable to get it.

She had to refuse to collect her severely autistic son Cody from Gladstone respite centre Mainstay.

The Observer shared Kathy's heartbreak in last Saturday's edition.

We used her plight to launch a campaign to improve disability services in our town.

We had an amazing end goal in sight: to build a new respite hostel.

But after speaking to several parents and carers in our community, we've decided to take a slightly different tack.

We want to find out from you what it is we need.

It might be a brand spanking new respite hostel.

Maybe it's more long-term accommodation where disabled people can live somewhat independently.

Or a scheme to retain the incredibly passionate special needs workers we already have. And incentive to encourage more to enter the industry.

Let's face it. We need all of the above. Desperately.

But let's open the floor to you, to the parents and carers in Gladstone region who are struggling.

The Observer is very serious about this campaign. But we recognise there's no quick fix.

We're looking to organise a forum for interested parties to voice their opinions.

Stay tuned for a date.

Any ideas, suggestions or queries please give me a bell on 4970 3024 or 0414 372 597. Or drop me an email at beth.young@gladstoneobserver.com.au.